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Wits Rural Facility (WRF) was established by the University of the Wiwatersrand to serve as a base for applied research, University student education and community outreach. There are five permanent programmes associated with WRF, but many more Wits University departments also use the facility for the purpose of student field trips and as a temporary research base. These include the faculties of Town and Regional Planning; Zoology; Anthropology; Education; Architecture and Occupational Therapy.

The five ongoing schemes are the Association for Water And Rural Development (AWARD); Community Rehabilitation Research and Education (CORRE), the Health Services Development Unit (HSDU); the Refugee Research Program (RRP); and SUNRAE (Sustainable Use of Resources in African Environments).


The major provincial conservation bodies are the Northern Province Department of Agriculture, Land and Environment (NPDALE) and the Mpumalanga Parks Board (MPB). They tend to work predominantly within their own regional boundaries. However from time to time these organisations have visiting scientists, who they accompany on field trips into the core and buffer zones.


The Agriculture Research Council (ARC) and the Range and Forage Institute (RFI) both have their national central offices in Nelspruit but each has a base within the Biosphere Reserve. The majority of both institutions' work takes place within the private conservation areas of the Biosphere Reserve.

Their aim is to investigate the potential of the natural resources of the Lowveld to contribute to the economy and the development of the region in harmony with social and environmental needs. They currently work in around 400,000 hectares of mainly privately owned nature reserves and ranches within the Biosphere area, and are trying to gain a predictive understanding of the savannah ecosystem dynamics.